Relax, That’s an Order~
It’s more important than you may think. Even traditional medicine is getting on board with it. It, as in; Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM), which is becoming widely recognized and respected by the purveyors of western medicine as a vital partner in the prevention, treatment and recovery from illnesses abound.
So, this weeks’ post is not just for those who are facing cancer. This one is for everyone who’s breathing, regardless of health status, geographical location, blood type, star sign, you name it, listen up~
The combining of traditional (Western) medicine and CAM is where we get the term “Integrative medicine” from. It means to treat the whole person. That ole mind, body spirit approach.
The term complementary medicine for me, doesn’t quite hit the mark, but that’s because it sounds just like and is easily mistaken (yes, I did) for “complimentary” (with an I), which means to flatter or approve as opposed to “complementary” (with an E) which means to balance, harmonize or partner, which makes so much more sense to me (now). CAM is commonly used to describe the very broad group of healing philosophies, approaches and therapeutic interventions that don’t belong to traditional medicine.
The Integrative Medicine Program at the SD cancer center (where I went through my treatment) had a wide range of offerings right there on site; meditation, acupuncture, biofeedback, craniofacial therapy, music therapy, art therapy, reiki, hypnotherapy, massage, pet therapy, qi gong, and yoga, to name just a few.
I’ve also found that hydro therapy has been huge in relieving the aches and swelling that followed, especially for the swollen ankles. I didn’t try everything on their list, but I did go for the massage, craniofacial therapy, qi gong and biofeedback while I was there and the pet therapy was a sweet, old, black lab that would come around once a week and nuzzle up to you. Everyone lit up when they’d hear the little click click click click of her paws as she traipsed down the hallway toward us. There was also music therapy in the way of a harpist who would play gently from the center of the treatment room. That, and of course playing music at home. Every time I’d pick up and play my guitar, I felt a boost of energy. I wish I’d tried the art therapy. It sounded really cool. Watercolor painting over photographs…I’ve decided that if I ever have to do anymore chemo in future I will consider that (being able to try the art therapy) a silver lining :-).
I didn’t try yoga at the cancer center. Somehow it just seemed too much to have an IV pole attached you as you sit in the lotus position. I did try it at home through a series I found on Netflix. I call it “yoga for gimps”, which my P.C. friends consider appalling, but that’s the name that comes to mind whenever I try it (and fail miserably because I’m so creaky and locked up). It’s not on Netflix anymore (those damn rights wars), but it is available on Amazon.com to rent and I’m sure you can buy the DVD too. There are a lot of them out there. This is just the one I know firsthand.
I did try acupuncture through Frank Jasper. If you don’t know that story, it’s a good one. Just type his name into the search field of this site and you’ll find it. He’s also referenced toward the end of the book, The C Card and Me. He and his wife own/run Osani Holistic Healthcare center in Pacific Palisades (L.A.). I went to him for advice on getting my digestive tract and metabolism back in working order. He suggested the acupuncture. I am terrified of needles, but I trust him, so I gave it a try. I didn’t even know they were in, except for the rush of warmth I felt in my toes. Maybe it’s because of how I knew him before or that is just how he is, very disarming and calming kind of persona. Very cool experience and I highly recommend it to anyone.
I could go on and on and we will over the next few weeks with guest writers helping to fill in the blanks, because this is an important subject. Look at the list again: meditation, acupuncture, biofeedback, craniofacial therapy, music therapy, art therapy, reiki, hypnotherapy, massage, pet therapy, qi gong, and yoga. what complementary therapies do you have in your life to help combat stress and keep you balanced? You don’t have to be all granola about it, but you do need to introduce a couple of these into your day to day life, or do you have other things that are your own version of CAM (like maybe gardening)? Share them in the comment fields below. If you’re anything like me you get bored pretty easily, so the bigger the variety the better~
So, go on…tell us…what’s your CAM?